WHAT SHOULD STUDENTS KNOW ABOUT THE NEW TOEFL

The new TOEFL will be debut in the United States in September 2005. Students in the UAE will be taking the new TOEFL in 2006. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has developed a new TOEFL test that will help individuals demonstrate ...

By Anmber Siddiqui (Contributor)

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Published: Sat 16 Apr 2005, 2:13 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:58 PM

the English skills needed for academic success. The New TOEFL will assess all four basic language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. Because the next generation TOEFL test includes a Speaking section, institutions and agencies will no longer need to include the TSE (Test of Spoken English) test as a separate requirement.

Changes will include the addition of a speaking section and completely new grading system. The new TOEFL will be approximately four hours as opposed to the current three-hour format.

The new TOEFL will have four integrated sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking whereas the current TOEFL has three independent sections: Listening, Reading, and Writing. All four sections can be taken on one day and will allow students to take notes throughout the test to help test takers answer the questions.

Next generation TOEFL will report a score (0-30) for each of four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). In addition, there will be a three-digit composite score for the skills of reading, writing and listening so that score users can make meaningful comparisons to scores earned on the current versions of TOEFL.

Scores will be reported online fifteen days after the test. Both examinees and score recipients will be able to view the scores online free of charge. Paper copies of score reports will be mailed from ETS fifteen business days after the test.

AMIDEAST, the official TOEFL testing centre in the UAE, offers the current TOEFL five days a week, on a first-come-first-serve basis. However, the new TOEFL will only be offered on specific dates, as opposed to five days a week. 'We advise students to register for the new TOEFL approximately six months in advance or as soon as the dates are posted,' said Mary Corrodo, Country Director, AMIDEAST.

The (ETS) has announced the following changes in each section:

Reading Section

* Three academic reading passages followed by comprehension questions that measure the ability to understand and analyse the meaning of the passages

* Familiar question types from the computer-based TOEFL test

* New question types in which test takers

— demonstrate they have learned what they have read, either by filling out a table or completing a narrative summary

— choose a correct paraphrase of a reading

Listening Section

* Two conversations that include 2 or more speakers in each

* Four lectures, which include classroom dialogue

* Opportunity to take notes while listening

* Familiar question types from the computer-based TOEFL test

* New question types that measure test takers' ability to understand a speaker's attitude or meaning

Speaking Section

* Two independent tasks about familiar topics

— Test takers state, explain, and support their response using personal knowledge and experience.

* Two tasks based on Reading and Listening material

— Tasks include a short reading passage and a short talk (These are shorter than those in the Reading and Listening sections.)

— Questions require test takers to combine information from both the reading and the listening material in the responses

— One task is based on a campus-related situation, and the other is based on academic classroom material.

— Test takers can take notes and use them to respond

* Two tasks based on Listening material, including a short lecture or conversation

— Questions require test takers to summarise key ideas from the talks in the responses

— One task is based on a campus-related situation, and the other is based on academic classroom material.

— Test takers can take notes and use them to respond

* Trained raters evaluate test takers' ability in:

— topic development — show they understand and can make connections, and convey relevant information

— delivery — use clear, smooth, sustained speech for overall intelligibility

— language use — demonstrate control of grammar and word choice, and respond coherently

Writing Section

* One Reading/Listening/Writing task

— Academic reading and lecture

— Test takers must answer a question discussing the key points in the lecture and explaining how they relate to those in the reading passage.

— Reading passage appears first, then is removed from the screen during the lecture. Test takers can view the passage again while responding the question.

— Test takers can take notes and use them to respond

* One independent task about a familiar topic

— Test takers state, explain and support their response using personal knowledge and experience. This task is similar to the writing task on the computer-based TOEFL test and the Test of Written English (TWE)

* Trained raters evaluate test takers' ability to demonstrate an understanding of the material, as well as write clearly, accurately, and in a well-organised manner.

The writer is the President of American Canadian Centre for Academic Placement (ACAP) located in Dubai Knowledge Village. Anmber is a graduate of University of Houston, Texas. She has worked extensively with international students in the US and abroad and is an active member of Association of International Educators (NAFSA), Overseas Educational Advisors (OSEAS) and the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).



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